Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Hardback: 278 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher:  UK Edition Weidenfeld and Nicolson 2012
Source: A Harper Collins Marketing Executive in return for an unbiased review.
First Sentence: From The Prologue written by Julian Carax: 'I have always known that one day I would return to these streets to tell the story of the man who lost his soul and his name among the shadows of a Barcelona trapped in a time of ashes and silence.

Review Quote: 
The Prisoner of Heaven is the third part of the story and, like the first, is narrated by Daniel Sempere. But it too contains stories within stories, and the real narrative here belongs to the irrpressible Fermin Romero de Torress...Zafon's characters and dialogue are as lively and full-blooded as ever. (Stephanie Merritt THE OBSERVER )
Favourite Quote:  “Deep down we've never been who we think we once were, and we only remember what never happened.”  
My Opinion: 
 A page turner that I finished far too quickly, leaving me eagerly awaiting the next instalment.

Picking this up to read I wondered if I would be able to remember all that had gone before in the first two novels in this series. No problem, I at once enjoyed being back in the familiar territory of the Sempre bookshop and recollections of The Shadow of the Wind and The Angels Game were easily recalled. The explanation at the front of The Prisoner of Heaven reminds us that it is part of a cycle of novels set in the literary universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books of which the previous novels were the first two instalments. It also goes on to say that although each novel is an independent story they are all interconnected by common characters and storylines. The claim is made quite correctly that for this reason the novels can be read in any order, enabling the reader to weave their own path to the heart of the narrative. I do not refute this but personally feel more comfortable with the fact that I have read them in order of publication. 

The writing is just like in the previous volumes so atmospheric that you get a strong feeling of how Barcelona must have felt in the early nineteen forties and the late nineteen fifties, the two periods we are swapped between in The Prisoner of Heaven. We meet many of the same characters but in this novel the protagonist is Fermin Romero de Torres as he relates his story to Daniel Sempre in the fifties. Daniel is now married with a young son and helping his father run the family bookshop, which is struggling to survive. The appearance in the shop of a mysterious stranger who threatens to expose Fermin's secret, means that after all these years he at last has to tell Daniel the truth about his past. Daniel and Fermin find themselves embarking on a dangerous adventure teeming with lies, reprisals, resentment and suspicion as they search for the truth.

This third novel in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series I found to be a real page turner that I finished far too quickly, leaving me eagerly awaiting the next instalment due to the ending leaving us knowing there is so much more to come. I can recommend this to anyone that enjoyed the first two, although you will be surprised in that this is a much easier to follow instalment. Still I am left wondering just how the author is going to tie together all the storylines into the final novel. There is a lot left to be explained to the reader, some of which I am a little confused about but have no intention of mentioning here for fear of spoilers, we will just have to wait, hopefully not to long!

Links to my reviews of the first two books in the series.
The Shadow of the Wind           The Angels Game

An extract from the book can be read by visiting Carlos Riiz Zafon's Website
A video trailer without spoilers can be watched on Amazon here

Author Profile

Carlos Ruiz Zafron was born in 1964 in Barcelona. He is the author of six novels, including The Shadow of the Wind and  The Angels Game. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages and published around the world, gaining him millions of readers.He divides his time between Barcelona, Spain and Los Angeles, California.      

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and his writing.

I have chosen to read this title as the letter P for The A - Z Book Challenge which I have decided to attempt to achieve in alphabetical order. I have a good selection of titles to choose from our bookshelves, it will be interesting to see how far I can get before I get stuck. You can follow my progress here.   


  1. This is a series I have wanted to begin. Your review was just the prompt I needed!

  2. I honestly have so many books on my To Read list, that I will probably give this series a miss, although it was an excellent review, and you obviously enjoyed them.

  3. I'm so glad you liked this one! I love this series so much and I felt like we really got to know the characters better in this book. Can't wait for the final one!

  4. I'm looking forwards to reading this one, the first two were really atmospheric.

  5. Patricia@ Have you not read any of them yet, you have some serious catching up to do then. Enjoy :)

    thisisme@ I understand too many books and not enough time, we have to be selective.

    Caroline@ This is as well and I found it much easier to follow.

  6. thanks for linking this in Lindy Lou. cheers

  7. Carole@ It is a pleasure, this has been a great series of novels.

  8. I LOVED SHADOW OF THE WIND. That is one of my all-time favorites.

    I "had" to go to Barcelona after reading the book.

    THANKS for the wonderful review of his newest book.

    Stopping by from Carole's post of October's Books We Loved.

    Silver's Reviews

  9. Elizabeth@ Welcome,lovely to have you call by and comment. It is great when a book we have enjoyed can also inspire us to travel.


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